Air Travel

If your pregnancy is straightforward, there is no evidence that the changes in air pressure and/or the decrease in humidity have a harmful effect on you or your baby.

Make sure you are up-to-date with your vaccinations and have travel insurance.

If you do not have electronic access to your pregnancy notes, it's a good idea to take a copy of them with you, so that, should it be required, health professionals can see your relevant information; you can ask your midwife to print a copy of your information.


Make sure your travel insurance covers you for any eventuality, such as pregnancy-related medical care during labour, premature birth and the cost of changing the date of your return trip if you go into labour.


There is no evidence that flying will cause miscarriage, early labour or your waters to break. Anyone who flies is exposed to a slight increase in radiation.

Check with your airline whether they have specific rules relating to pregnancy.

Air travel and pregnancy

Air travel and pregnancy

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Alcohol

The Department of Health recommends that women who think they may become pregnant should not drink alcohol at all, this is to keep risks to the baby to a minimum.


When you drink, alcohol passes from your blood through the placenta and to your baby. There is no known safe level for drinking during pregnancy, so the safest approach is not to drink at all while you're expecting.

Drinking alcohol at any stage during pregnancy can cause harm to your baby and the more you drink, the greater the risk. This is why the alcohol unit guideline advice to pregnant women is that the safest approach is to not drink alcohol at all during pregnancy.


Drinking in pregnancy can lead to long-term harm to the baby and the more you drink, the greater the risk.

Getting drunk and/or drinking every day are especially dangerous.

But please be aware if you're already pregnant and drank only small amounts of alcohol in the early stages of pregnancy, the risk of harm to the baby is low. However if you are worried, you should talk to your GP or midwife.

 

Drinking alcohol in pregnancy - Tommy's information

Drinking alcohol in pregnancy - Tommy's information

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Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

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Useful links

Addaction is a UK-wide treatment agency that helps individuals, families and communities manage the effects of alcohol and drug misuse.


Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a free self-help group. Its "12-step" programme involves getting sober with the help of regular support groups.


Change 4 life - choose less booze

Choose less booze is one of a number of sections on this site to help make positive lifestyle changes.

It has a range of easy to use tools to help you do this including:

  • A drinks checker tool to see how much alcohol you are drinking
  • Free drink tracker app to download
  • Easy drink swaps advice
  • Advice on units

Drinkaware.co.uk


NHS Choices


National Organisation on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome UK
More information and advice on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS).

Illegal or Recreational Drugs

If you use illegal or recreational drugs it is important for you to know how they can affect you, your pregnancy and your baby. Depending on what drugs you use the effects can include growth restriction, increased miscarriage, birth defects and a chance that your baby will have to withdraw after birth.

If you take any illegal or recreational drugs it can be very hard to stop and in some cases may even be harmful to stop suddenly. There is support available for you so please talk to your midwife or GP.

Tommy's

Illegal or recreational drugs in pregnancy

Tommy's

Illegal or recreational drugs in pregnancy

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IMPACT

IMPACT Swindon & Wiltshire Active Recovery Service is a free drug and alcohol service run by Turning Point.

IMPACT

IMPACT Swindon & Wiltshire Active Recovery Service is a free drug and alcohol service run by Turning Point.

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Anyone living in Bath & North East Somerset can get free and confidential help if they are struggling with drugs or alcohol.

Healthy Diet

Everything you eat or drink during pregnancy reaches your baby in some way and influences the baby's health both before and after he or she is born.

You don't need a special diet, but you need to eat a balanced diet.

You are not eating for two and doing so will probably result in excessive weight gain, which is not good for you or the baby. In general you do not need extra calories for the first two-thirds of pregnancy and it is only in the last12 weeks that women need an extra 200 calories a day.

It is important to eat well during pregnancy. It is recommended that you have a low fat, low sugar and high fibre diet. Make sure you drink plenty of water too. Try and eat five portions of fruit or vegetables each day, including vitamin C and iron rich foods. Your midwife will be able to advise you further.


We will weigh you during pregnancy if your BMI is above 30 at booking. There are no formal UK guidelines defining appropriate weight gain during pregnancy, however, research suggests if your:

  • BMI is 25 to 30, then a healthy weight gain in pregnancy is about 7 to 11 kg (15 to 25 pounds).
  • BMI is over 30 at the start of pregnancy, then it is not healthy to gain more than 5-9 kg (11-20 pounds).

It is important for all women to stay physically active during pregnancy. From regular walks to aqua natal classes there are many different options for exercise. Please discuss this further with your midwife.

Useful links

NHS - Have a Healthy Diet

NHS - Have a Healthy Diet

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Tommy's - Healthy Diet in Pregnancy

Tommy's - Healthy Diet in Pregnancy

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Tommy's - Guide to a Healthy Diet in Pregnancy

Tommy's - Guide to a Healthy Diet in Pregnancy

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Vitamins and Supplements

Eating a healthy, varied diet in pregnancy will help you to get most of the vitamins and minerals you need.

Some women choose to take a once a day multivitamin and mineral that is specifically designed for preconception and pregnancy.

You should avoid taking 'regular' vitamins as these may contain vitamin A and too much vitamin A should be avoided in pregnancy.

Those on a low income may be entitled to Healthy Start, free vitamins and vouchers for milk, fruit and vegetables speak to your midwife who will be able to provide you with an application form.

It is recommended that you take the two following supplements:

Folic Acid

Folic acid is a vitamin that helps to build your baby's nervous system.

Lack of folic acid can cause spina bifida, where the baby's spine does not close up properly.

If you're pregnant or planning to have a baby, start taking a folic acid supplement every day.


It is really important you take folic acid before pregnancy and for at least the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Tommy's information on the benefits of Folic Acid

Tommy's information on the benefits of Folic Acid

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Vitamin D

The Department of Health also advises you take a vitamin D supplement.

  • 10 micrograms (10 mcgs) of vitamin D a day during pregnancy

Most pregnancy multivitamins contain vitamin D. or you may prefer to take a single vitamin D supplement. Only take a multivitamin that's made specifically for pregnancy, and check the label to see how much vitamin D it contains. Ask your pharmacist, midwife or doctor if you're not sure which one is suitable.

You can get vitamin supplements containing vitamin D free of charge if you are pregnant or breastfeeding and qualify for the Healthy Start scheme.


Some women need more vitamin D

You are advised to take 25 mcgs of vitamin D a day if you:

  • always cover your skin
  • use high-factor sun block
  • have dark skin
  • have a BMI above 30

You will need to ask your GP for a prescription.

Useful links

Healthy Start scheme

The government's Healthy Start scheme helps low-income and young, pregnant women, as well as new mums. If you are eligible for the scheme, supplements that contain vitamin D are free of charge.

Healthy Start scheme

The government's Healthy Start scheme helps low-income and young, pregnant women, as well as new mums. If you are eligible for the scheme, supplements that contain vitamin D are free of charge.

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NHS - Vitamins, minerals, and supplements in pregnancy

NHS - Vitamins, minerals, and supplements in pregnancy

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DoH Advice on supplements for at-risk groups

DoH Advice on supplements for at-risk groups

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Exercise in Pregnancy

If your pregnancy is uncomplicated it is actually much healthier for you and your baby to exercise while pregnant. The more active and fit you are during pregnancy, the easier it will be for you to adapt to your changing shape and weight gain. It will also help you to cope with labour and get back into shape after the birth.

Keep up your normal daily physical activity or exercise (sport, running, yoga, dancing, or even walking to the shops and back) for as long as you feel comfortable.


Exercise is not dangerous for your baby - there is some evidence that active women are less likely to experience problems in later pregnancy and labour.

Is it safe to exercise in pregnancy?

Is it safe to exercise in pregnancy?

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Tips for exercise in pregnancy

Tips for exercise in pregnancy

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Easy office exercises to do when you are pregnant

Easy office exercises to do when you are pregnant

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Making a plan for exercising in pregnancy

Making a plan for exercising in pregnancy

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Useful links

Fit for Pregnancy

Fit for Pregnancy

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Fit and Safe

Exercise advice for mothers-to-be and new mothers

Fit and Safe

Exercise advice for mothers-to-be and new mothers

 
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Physical activity for pregnant women

Physical activity for pregnant women

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Exercise and activity in pregnancy

Tommy's: Exercise and activity in pregnancy

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Smoking in Pregnancy

When you smoke a cigarette, over 4000 poisons are passed through the placenta directly into your baby's body.

The best thing you can do for your baby is to quit smoking.

We know that your health, and the health of your baby is the most important thing in the world to you. Quitting smoking should be done as early as possible because smoking increases the chance of complications during pregnancy and afterwards.

It can also lead to premature births and even stillbirth.


If you are a smoker or have recently given up smoking you will be offered a referral to a  Smoking in Pregnancy specialist midwife who will support you to stop and stay stopped.

For information on services in the Bath & North East Somerset area, Wiltshire and also Somerset, click here:

Service information


Why carbon monoxide screening matters

Vaccinations: Covid-19, Flu & Whooping Cough

Some vaccines, such as the inactivated seasonal flu vaccine and the whooping cough vaccine, are recommended during pregnancy to protect the health of you and your baby. (An inactivated vaccine doesn't contain a live version of the virus it is protecting against).

It is recommended that you have these vaccinations.